I own no part of SON
I'm up before the sun, fighting with my coffee machine, and doing my best not to lose my mind.
"Freaking piece of shit coffee maker," I grumble and shake the whole contraption before it sputters to life. It's only two weeks, there is nothing to be this worried about. But memories keep flooding my mind of the last time she left. I almost lost her for good.
I shake it off and fill my coffee cup. Right as I go to take my first sip there is a soft knock at my door; I almost drop the mug.
A person I hardly recognize slips into my apartment. Ashley is wearing this all white uniform with four little medals pinned on it and there's a hat tucked under her arm. Gone are the unruly curls I love and her hair is straight and pulled back.
"Hi," she gives me a small smile and I'm having trouble coming up with words.
"You," my mind searches for ways to describe her, "you look," I release a breath, "incredible."
And she really does. She looks every bit of the dedicated soldier but that nose crinkling grin escapes and I can see my Ashley shining through.
"I forgot you've never seen me in my official get up," she frowns, "judging by the look on your face you don't like it." Then she makes it even more difficult for me to think straight by throwing me a wink. Dear god.
"Right," I manage to find my voice, "when I say 'incredible' what I mean is you should change because…you look gross."
She grins in reply and settles on to a kitchen stool.
"Coffee?" I slide an already full mug to her and watch her take a slow sip. Her bright uniform seems out of place in my messy apartment and all I want are those wild curls. I sit in the stool next to her and grab her free hand.
We sit in silence and I keep my gaze focused on our joined hands. I don't know how much time passes before I hear a soft knock on my door.
A tentative Kyla pokes her head in my apartment, "Ash, it's time." She slips back out without another word.
"Well I gu_" before I can even finish my sentence her mouth is on mine. The kiss is slow and deep and her hands are in my hair and I can't breathe.
We break apart and I already miss everything about her.
"Goodbye, Spence," she whispers, "I'll call you when I can. I love you."
"I love you too." I manage and then she's gone.
I spend longer than I care to admit staring at the door, hoping she'll waltz back into my apartment. My coffee cup is full of lukewarm, brown liquid and the door hasn't moved, my phone hasn't rung. It's been, I shoot a glance at the clock, two hours since Ashley walked out of my apartment.
I have to get out of here. I make the fifteen minute trek to the gallery and let myself in. Of course no one is there, it's too early. The darkened gallery offers no comfort but I'm hoping it can distract me. I start in on the disorganized stack of paper on my small corner desk.
An hour drags by and I'm doing my very best to keep my eyes off the clock. It has become a game for myself, see how much self control I really have. Turns out, I don't have much.
The young receptionist comes in and barely acknowledges me. She thinks she is fast tracked to a brilliant career in art. She's an imbecile.
Marie breezes by, chattering away on her cell phone. She only pauses by my desk to drop another stack of papers in front of me. I bite back a growl.
Right as I'm bubble wrapping a delicate statue my phone buzzes. I almost drop the $23,000 statue in my blind rush to answer.
"Spencer." I can hear her smile over the phone and I have to blink back tears. Keep it together woman, she hasn't even been gone a day.
"Everything going ok?"
She releases a sigh into the phone, "I hate traveling. The airport food is so expensive and everyone smells kind of bad. Stale, everyone smells stale." I can hear her chewing on something and I can just picture her, sitting on some stool and watching everyone with dark, curious eyes.
"Cut them some slack, Ash. People sweat like crazy on airplanes. In fact that's the person you'll probably be stuck to on the plane. A giant sweater," I grin, "who smells like pickles."
"Ewww Spencer!" She squeals into the phone and her giggles echo in my head. I grip the phone tighter and steady myself against my desk. "Please tell me you're not stewing in the apartment?"
"Please," I scoff, "I have wasted no time going out and finding myself a sweet slice for while you're gone." Good, good Spence, keep it light. Don't lose your cool.
She laughs, "As long as she's hot."
"She's ok, nowhere near as good looking as this army girl I am seeing."
"God, Spence," she sighs, "am I pathetic for missing you so much already?"
And just like that I lose my grip, "No," I choke out, "not at all, Ash."
We sit in silence for a few beats and I swear I can almost feel her next to me. I can almost smell her perfume and I can almost feel a breath of a kiss on my cheek.
Indistinct intercom noise from her end breaks my trance and apparently hers too.
"I should get to my gate." She sighs and I can tell she's as frustrated as I am.
I do my best to put on my happy voice, "Yeah, of course. Have a safe flight Ash."
"Ok, I'll let you know when I'm there," she sniffles and I know she hates that she's showing weakness, "Love you Spence."
"Love you too."
And suddenly I'm left with silence. I bite back my tears, knowing that if I let them fall they won't stop. I rub my eyes once, then grab the statue and wrappings to finish the task I started earlier.
Countless piles of paperwork and several hours later I glance up only to notice it is dark out, I'm the only one left in the small studio. Did my co-workers even say goodbye to me? Probably, I must not have noticed. I'm trying so hard not to think about Ash that I've lost track of everything.
I rub my eyes and lean back in my chair, the thought of a cold beer bringing a smile to my face. Wait, it's dark and Ashley should've got a hold of me by now. Panicked I shuffle through all the papers on my desk to try and find my phone. Somewhere between the expense reports and shipping receipts I find it. Three missed calls. Two from Ashley and one from Glen. There's a voicemail from Ashley telling me she landed and she loves me, she'll call tomorrow. There isn't a message from Glen.
It takes me five minutes to shut down my computer and lock up. I stop at my local late night market to grab a fresh case of beer before trudging home. Knowing Ashley won't be at the apartment to greet me makes it hard to walk the stairs and open the door. It's dark in my apartment, all the usual activity of Ashley gone. There is no radio playing, no novel on my couch, no pasta boiling on the stove. I leave the lights off and head for the shower.
Per usual I take my time in the shower. The water is hot and my knotted muscles slowly relax. I do my best to think of anything but Ashley. I go over the reports I filled out, then spend some time thinking about when I should visit my mother, wondering how Glen's doing, finally landing on Ashley. I know this trip is going to be good for her. She has so much to give and I know she misses being around other soldiers.
As I'm grabbing my first beer from the fridge there's a sharp knock on my door. Even though I know it can't be her, I'm hoping it's Ashley. My hopes are dashed when it turns out to be Glen.
"I left her."
There are tears in his eyes and a duffle at his feet.
"Come on," I sigh, "Lemme grab the tequila." I rummage around under the sink until I find it, a dusty bottle of Patron.
My twin sits at the counter and stares at the surface with empty eyes. He looks so lost, so old. Glen downs two shots before looking at me.
"I just can't do it anymore," he's trying not to cry, "I can't be with someone who doesn't want the same things I want. I can't imagine not having kids or being married."
I don't say anything, I just pour him another shot.
He slams it back, "I can't be with her but I can't breathe without her."
His words cut through me. I know how he feels.
"Glen," I pause. There are no words that could possibly make him feel better. I know how much he loves Kyla, how much he needs her, "I'm so sorry." And those words seem so inadequate, so much less than he needs.
He nods and motions for another shot. I grab a beer for him instead. He doesn't need to get so drunk he does something he regrets.
We sit in silence for several minutes, the only sound the occasional clanking from our beer bottles hitting the counter.
"You miss Ash yet?" He gives me a sarcastic half smile.
I scoff, "No way."
"I don't believe you."
"It's only been one day." I try to keep the desperation out of my voice, it doesn't work.
His sad smile makes me wince, "When you love someone that much it doesn't matter if it's been one day or three years." I feel guilty for talking about my relationship when his just collapsed.
"Glen, we can talk about something different," I grab his hand and give it a squeeze.
He shakes his head, "No, you're happy and you're finally with Ash. I want you to feel like you can talk to me about it."
I believe him, he wouldn't lie to me…well not about this and his face is sincere.
"Ok," I nod, "two weeks is going to kill me. And it's things like just having her next to me while I sleep. Like I'm afraid to go to sleep tonight. Weird right?"
And right after I've said it I realize he knows exactly what I'm feeling. We're different sides of the same coin.
There won't be sleep for either of us tonight.
Ehhh boy. Can any of you forgive me? This absence can be explained…I swear! I moved to a whole new state again. My life is a mess. Thank you to everybody still reading, still reviewing. Want to see something happen? Tell me! I'll include your ideas and thoughts! xoxo